Baton Rouge, LA
International Competition Submission - Honorable Mention
Louisiana stands at the brink of economic disaster. The state is facing a $600 million budget deficit. Without sharp and painful tax increases, the government will cease to offer many of its vital services, including education opportunities and certain programs for the needy. A popular TOPS scholarship fund is depleted with the state only able to provide roughly 48% of the more than $250 million funding for this coming school year.
In June 2015, former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed a law legalizing the use of medical marijuana in the state however there was no legal way of obtaining medical marijuana until May 2016. Senator Fred Mills led the passing of a bill providing the framework for how one can obtain medical marijuana. The bill establishes one grow site and ten legal dispensaries in the state and offers Louisiana State University the right of first refusal to the grow site. Administrators have until September 2016 to make their decision.
Agriculture has been an important part of Louisiana’s economy since it was first settled. Louisiana’s economy was based mainly on agriculture in the 1700s and 1800s. Today Agriculture is much less important to Louisiana’s economy than it was earlier in the state’s history. Only a small fraction of residents earn their living on farms, and most of the production comes from relatively few large farms in the alluvial plains of the Mississippi River.
Returning to Louisiana’s original industry, the Cannabis Research Opportunity Program is the state’s grow site and distribution center partnered with the LSU College of Agriculture. It will include a dispensary for the public, a vertical farming hydroponic tower, and research and classroom spaces. The vertical farming hydroponic tower will be a research facility for the LSU College of Agriculture allowing people hands on experience in hydroponic growing systems. The building will have a strong visual presence in direct relation to the Louisiana state capital building in downtown baton rouge. The adjacency of the cannabis bank to the state capital establishes a commentary on existing government policy as only medical marijuana is currently legal. The cannabis bank will be a model for future marijuana grow sites and research centers with sustainable features that will produce energy and collect and recycle water among other things.
Charles Jones, David Merlin, Robert Mosby, Matt Decotiis, James Catalano, Jill Thompson